There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Catch of the day

I got a piece of scrap paper from my book, uncapped my pen and quickly wrote down what I saw.

The bus had stopped at Morse and Arden Way. The driver made the bus kneel and then flipped out the wheelchair ramp. The new buses have a much more efficient handicapped access system than the old buses.

With the ramp in place the passenger drove his electric wheelchair onto the bus. The man in the chair made quite a first impression.

Hung around his neck was a placard: "Will my heirs own your heirs?" Below was another placard but it wasn't readable from the back of the bus.

A large American flag fluttered in the breeze as the wheelchair maneuvered into place to be secured by the driver. The flag pole extended a good two feet above the chair. The flag appeared to be held in place with duct tape at the top. The red and white stripes of the flag came perilously close to dragging on the ground as the chair moved.

Draped over the back of his chair was a jacket with another placard. The first word was obscured, but the message was clear: "... Americans can thank vets!!!" The man looked old, perhaps old enough to be from The Greatest Generation. Certainly he was old enough to be from The Forgotten Generation of the Korean War.

He wore blue pants and a long-sleeve light green sport shirt. On his head he wore a red ball cap and over that headphones with an antenna. I assumed he was listening to a radio. I considered the American flag -- the BIG American flag -- placards fore and aft, immersion in the world of radio, and wondered: Was it NPR? Or was it talk radio? My prejudice sided with the assumption that this was what happens when you have too much time on your hands and listen to way too much talk radio.

The man exited the bus at Sac State. As he rode by I noticed that he wore a clear plastic glove on his "driving" hand.

I capped my pen and put it back in my shirt pocket. I put my scrap of paper back in my book and returned to my reading, secure in the knowledge that the bus had brought me something to write about today.

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